With exactly one half of the Mets' regular starting lineup on the IL, it makes sense for them to get a bit creative when it comes to their lineup construction between now and when Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Robinson Cano, and Brandon Nimmo return.
While Wilson Ramos (catcher), Pete Alonso (first base), Amed Rosario (shortstop), and Juan Lagares (center field) will start most days, the Mets need to shake things up elsewhere.
Mets manager Mickey Callaway hinted over the last two days about what some of that creativity could look like. Here are four lineup ideas the Mets should consider as they wait for their injured players to return...
Dominic Smith in left field against right-handed pitchers
Before the rash of injuries, the Mets were giving a hard-no on Smith being used in the outfield (even though he played there a bit last season). That stance was reversed before Wednesday night's game and talked about again by Callaway prior to Thursday afternoon's game, with the manager noting that Smith had been taking fly balls in the outfield.
For the foreseeable future, Smith -- who has hit righties much better than lefties throughout his career -- should be in the starting lineup against right-handers.
The Mets have outfield reinforcements with Carlos Gomez and Rajai Davis, and Gomez will likely continue to play regularly. But Smith has been hitting extremely well and gives the Mets a left-handed bat to help make up for the absensce of the four lefties they're currently missing.
J.D. Davis in left field against left-handed pitchers
Davis has been working some of the best at-bats on the entire club and has been one of the lone bright spots when it comes to players GM Brodie Van Wagenen acquired in the offseason.
Davis has just started getting exposure to left field, and while it probably won't be pretty at times, they need his bat right now. So, on days when Smith isn't out there, Davis should be.
Todd Frazier and J.D. Davis splitting time at third base against right-handers
There really isn't any timetable right now for the return (and Mets debut) of Jed Lowrie, so third base remains open. And while Todd Frazier has shown some signs of life lately, Davis has been the better hitter this year and gives the Mets the better power threat.
When Davis isn't in left field, he should alternate at third base with Frazier. And if Frazier falls into another cold spell while Davis heats up, he should be given the third base job outright -- making Frazier a bench piece in the process.
Rajai Davis or Aaron Altherr potentially eating away at Carlos Gomez' playing time
Gomez has gotten lots of playing time since the Mets DFA'd Keon Broxton, and had only one hit in 13 at-bats coming into Thursday's game, when he went 2-for-3 with a walk while smacking a huge three-run homer in the eighth inning as the Mets swept the Nats.
If Gomez mostly resembles the player the Mets saw before Thursday, they should give some burn to Rajai Davis, who was hitting well in Triple-A Syracuse before coming up and hitting a pinch-hit three-run homer on Wednesday night, or recently-acquired Aaron Altherr.